DOING well in exams, especially scoring straight As, is the ultimate goal for students. It brings pride and honour not only to them but also their teachers, parents, family and communities.
Given the right help, students with high IQ will easily ace their exams. Other students who are motivated and willing to work hard will also obtain good results.
This year, 8,876 or 2.1% of the students who sat for SPM (2020) scored straight As. Nonetheless, according to Education Minister Datuk Mohd Radzi Md Jidin, only 88.68% of 338,659 candidates nationwide will be getting their SPM exam certificate.
This means at least 43,235 have not qualified for the certificate. Are these students simply not good enough in their studies? Or were there other factors that caused them to under-perform, such as special family circumstances, unfavourable studying environment or simply lack of proper learning attitude and character?
In fact, some students may merely be late bloomers.
How does our society view these underachievers? Are they treated as failures? Is there even a future for them?
When it comes to exams, the norm is to expect students to get many As as possible. We bestow rewards, including scholarships, to high achievers. There is nothing wrong with that.
However, it is important for us to remember that education is a lifelong learning process, and school is just the starting point of this. Hence, achieving success or otherwise in school exams is not the end of the pursuit of excellence in life.
It is crucial to cultivate the culture of leading a life of excellence. Only those who genuinely continue to pursue this goal will be able to build this nation and contribute to the well-being of future generations.
Indeed, we want our future generations to excel in whatever they do, whether as clerks or food sellers or as professionals like doctors and lawyers.
We need students to have not only knowledge in the head but also in their heart. Both involve lifelong learning. There is no limit to pursuing education.
Therefore, as we praise and reward those who do well, we must also remember that each individual is unique and created with dignity. We must not measure a person’s success based only on their mental ability but also, and more importantly, on their character and true potential.
I hope students who did well in SPM 2020 will not stop pursuing excellence in learning. And to those who did not do so well, please do not give up. Continue to look further until you find your untapped potential.
I also hope our society will look beyond examination results and help each and every one of our students to reach their true potential regardless of whether they do well or not.
PUAN CHEW WY , Klang